12 Amazing Young Adult Books by Black Authors From the First Half of 2020
These YA books will change everything for you.
12 Amazing Young Adult Books By Black Authors From The First Half Of 2020
Along with the negativity of 2020 has come lots of good, too. These incredible YA books written by Black authors are hard to pass up. Reading is a great way to keep yourself educated and entertained at the same time.
Spend your summer right by reading a book that might make a difference in your life... and the world! Each of these reads is inspiring in their own way, but all give a voice to the Black community.
1. Black Girl Unlimited By Echo Brown
Using biographical realism, Echo Brown tells her own story as a young wizard from the East Side. When portals open, Echo transfers to a rich school on the West Side, and must come to terms with what it means to leave behind the place that made you. A great deal of Echo's magical story becomes a metaphor for Black resilience. It also boldly confronts racism and systemic oppression.
2. The Blossom And The Firefly By Sherri L. Smith
Set in 1945 Japan during World War II, a kamikaze pilot named Taro is ready to embark on a deadly mission. However, he meets Hana, a woman who changes everything for him. On the other hand, Hana is in the midst of her own mental and emotional turmoil, when she meets Taro.
3. Riot Baby By Tochi Onyebuchi
Ella has an ability to see the future, something she calls a "Thing". Living in Los Angeles in 1992, her older brother Kev tries to protect her from her gift before it destroys her. However, Kev ends up incarcerated, and Ella is unable to confront the past and future. With her entire childhood defined by racism, Ella soon come to terms with the fact that a revolution may be their only savior.
4. Say Her Name By Zetta Elliott
This collection of 49 powerful poems is inspired by the #SayHerName campaign. Covering topics of police brutality, inequality and injustice, and Black empowerment, these poems pay tribute to victims while inspiring readers. Elliot engages poets from the past two centuries to celebrate the voice of Black women from all age groups.
5. Saving Savannah By Tonya Bolden
Living in 1919, Savannah Riddle is a privileged young Black girl who wants to make meaning of her life. Coming from an upper class family living in Washington D.C., her lifestyle consists of fancy parties, Sunday teas, and pretentious men. However, she has a change in perspective when she meets Lloyd, a young West Indian man from the working class. Savannah becomes inspired by how the other half lives, and embarks on a journey to change the world.
6. Fights By Joel Christian Gill
Fights: One Boy's Triumph Over Violence is a deeply moving memoir by Joel Christian Gill. It's a coming of age tale as a Black child is taught to use violence in order to problem solve. However, his sensitive side shows through, making him question everything he has learned about fighting for his life.
7. Not So Pure And Simple By Lamar Giles
In this contemporary teen novel, Del unintentionally joins a purity ring club in order to get closer to his crush, Kiera. To his surprise, Del learns more about growing as a man than he ever would've outside of his Purity Pledge. Not So Pure and Simple confronts toxic masculinity and the consequences of societal pressures in our modern world.
8. The Sound Of Stars By Alechia Dow
Taking place in New York City after an Ilori alien invasion, this exciting sci-fi novel highlights a daring tale of 17-year-old Ellie Baker. Living in a world where creativity is outlawed, Ellie takes it upon herself to establish a secret illegal library. When M0Rr1S (Morris), an Ilori robot discovers what she's up to, the two form an unlikely bond of friendship.
9. A Love Hate Thing By Whitney D. Grandison
Nandy Smith is a golden girl of Pacific Hills, and she isn't too excited to learn that her family will be taking in Tyson Trice, a troubled teen for the summer. However, Tyson is not too thrilled either, feeling like he doesn't belong in the wealthy town. Not to mention, he's recovering from a gunshot wound. Although Nandy is convinced her and Tyson will clash, both of them are in for a surprise.
10. Conquest By Celeste Harte
Conquest takes place in a futuristic society, in which Jashi Anyua is trapped in an arranged marriage to the leader of her nation, the Great Faresh. However, Faresh's enemies offer her a way out of the marriage, requesting a favor in return. If Jashi spies on her soon-to-be-husband, she will be awarded a new identity. While getting to know him, Jashi questions where her loyalties really lie.
11. Deathless Divide By Justina Ireland
The sequel to Dread Nation, this historical tale is set in 1880s America. When she heads west to find her mother, Jane McKeene is forced to question everything she thought she knew about survival. Caught up in mysteries, lies, and violence, she risks losing everything to her own inner demons.
12. When You Were Everything By Ashley Woodfolk
When You Were Everything is a poignant and relatable story of the stages of friendship. Cleo and Layla used to be best friends, but things changed, causing them to grow apart. Nearly a month later, Cleo is assigned to tutor Layla, which is where the real story unfolds. Will their relationship survive as the past comes back to haunt them?
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What YA books will you be reading? We want to know!